Lierary CornerThe Qur’an and the universe [Archives:2006/920/Culture]

February 13 2006

Abu Al-Kalmah Al-Tayyibah
Book: The Qur'an and the Universe: From the Big Bang to the Great Contrition*

Author: Usamah Ali Al-Khadhir

Language: Arabic

Publisher: Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Year Published: 2004

No. of Pages: 833

The Qur'an is indeed one of the most phenomenal spiritual texts of all time. For one thing it is the latest of the spiritual texts that are the textbooks of faith of the three prominent monotheistic religions, the Torah (Jews), the Bible (Old and New Testament – Christians) and the Qur'an (Moslems). For another thing, the Qur'an has underwent hundreds of interpretations by Moslem and non-Moslem scholars, all of which try to decipher the vast fields that Qur'anic text cover. The powerful language of the Qur'an has also remained unaltered since its first publication during the period of the Third Orthodox Caliph, or successor to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace of Allah be upon him) some twenty years or so after the latter passed away, thus insuring its authenticity with the revealed verses delivered to the Prophet.

A French scholar (Dr. Maurice Baucaille) has previously written a remarkable comparative analysis of the Qur'an with the spiritual books of the other monotheistic faiths (See LC in Yemen Times Issues 844, 846 and 848). In that analysis, the author could not help but conclude that the Qur'an indeed is consistent with most of the scientific discoveries about this universe and he could not find anything that would render the book in any way conflicting with even the most recent scientific discoveries.

The book under scrutiny here seeks to bring the Qur'an in congruence with all the physical laws and suppositions concerning the vast expanse of the universe of which, the Earth and its human dwellers represent a miniscule almost negligible combination in the limitless expanse that sometimes is called the cosmos. This includes the chemical, physical, mechanical and astronomical attributes of the world and its vast surroundings. The effort is worthy of recognition as a monumental feat by someone who has delved into the many aspects that govern the existence and continuity of the universe and our existence amidst it and is very familiar with the scientific knowledge that has accumulated about the nature of the universe since ancient times. In the Introduction the author explains his objective:

“The major purpose of this treatise is to show the full impressive consistency and conformity between the modern scientific discoveries in the various fields of physics, astronomy and cosmology and to show the miracle of Mohammed Bin Abdullah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the Holy Qur'an.”

Furthermore, the author explains that his motive is not to seek rationales for the irrational behavior of modern man in many spheres that govern human life, but to underscore the fact that the suffering we see throughout the world and the arrogance of humankind are to a large extent due to a denial of the spiritual orientations that the Creator has laid out to help mankind regulate their existence in this tumultuous world. This stems partly from a poor understanding of the religious doctrine that has been evolving over the ages, with generations of prophets and messengers designated by the Al-Mighty to bring enlightenment to mankind and set the appropriate moral and legislative guidelines that will ensure that peace, justice and harmony are the acceptable norms of human existence. Without mankind recognizing the spiritual forces at play in our own lives and throughout the vast universe we live in, there is little chance that we will succumb to the Ultimate Being, who is responsible for making it all happen.

Thus, the author is seeking to underscore the fact that all that we are noticing in our own limited spheres and beyond the blue and black of day and night that separate us from the almost infinite number and kinds of celestial bodies of which only a very small sampling have become identifiable to our meek capacity to observe and absorb. But that such an enormous agglomeration of force, energy and matter existing and interacting in such a smooth and systematic cohesion surely warrants greater scrutiny as to their origin and intricate arrangement. For the author, relying on scientific observations of some of the greatest scientists spanning the ages of human existence, the Holy Qur'an is far beyond being simply a guide book towards the achievement of spiritual bliss. It is a phenomenal textbook of the science that we have come to know and have yet to fully explore to explain our existence and the intricacies of the universe that are necessary for such existence and continuity. Accordingly, if the universe must be subject to the Awesome Powers of the Al-Mighty to govern their existence and regulate their continuity, then surely mankind must also submit to the ordinances of their Creator, if they are to find peace and tranquility in this life. Furthermore, with the ability of the Al-Mighty to bring us into being in such a vast Cosmos of inter-celestial bodies and forces, there should be no second thoughts about the ability of God Al-Mighty to bring us about in another era of existence that has its own governing ordinances and which entail the elements of reward and punishment for mankind in terms of how they have truly been true to heart in their faith and belief in their Creator and their adherence to the sound rules and guidelines He has set for us to make our limited mundane existence a rewarding one in the here and now and in the hereafter.

We start our exploration of this interesting mix of the spiritual and scientific in the next issue.

* Actually the Arabic word “insihaq” could also mean “grounding” to a powder, but contrition would be more fitting with the spiritual context of the book, when we all realize that we probably missed the chance to make peace with our Lord.